Topic of the Week for July 26-30, 2010
The New Yorker made waves in the literary community with its recent 20 Under 40, a once-per-decade list of younger authors to watch. Many of the names on that list were unknown to the greater reading public, yet literary luminaries praised the list. The average reader could list dozens of standout authors under the age of 40, yet the list shortens considerably when looking below the threshold of 30. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss authors whose debut books were published before they crossed the tender age of 30.
Our guest host on Friday, July 30, is 23-year-old Jacob Ritari, whose recently released debut novel, Takaro Gorge (Unbridled Books), inspired this week’s topic. A mystical setting with impending danger, multiple POVs from a diverse cast of characters, and the mysterious disappearance of three Japanese schoolgirls make Takaro Gorge a spellbinding read. Advancing from one POV to another—a jaded American journalist and his alcoholic photographer, a hard-boiled Taiwanese cop, the Japanese teacher facing professional humiliation, insecure Japanese teenagers on the cusp of self-discovery—Ritardi leads readers down a trail of suspicion that doesn’t let up until the final pages. While the story is gripping and the design and pace of Takaro Gorge compelling, it’s Ritari’s insights into human nature and characterization that defy Ritari’s youth.
Jacob Ritari has studied with the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist organization in Taiwan and studied Japanese language and literature at Japan’s Sophia University. He lives near new York City. He is a 2009 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.
Follow Jacob Ritari on Twitter at @JacobRitari.
Read transcript from Jacob Ritari’s visit to #litchat here.
Contest in #litchat during @jacobritari guest host visit:
|@jacobritari: Hello, all! Chiming in a bit early to announce a contest we’ll be running. #litchat|
|@jacobritari: First, watch this short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgyHAYLmcVo (Anyone else remember this show?) #litchat|
|@jacobritari: Then write a four-line “hoedown” verse in that style, on the subject of “young authors” or a particular young author. #litchat|
|@jacobritari: I recommend doing four tweets, one per line, each with a #hoedown tag. #litchat|
|@jacobritari: I’ll pick the winner when I sign off at 5pm. Entries can be posted from now till then. Don’t be afraid to throw out a few bad ones #litchat|
|@jacobritari: to get the ball rolling. I won’t comment on the entries until the judging. #litchat|
|@jacobritari: Example follows: #litchat|
|@jacobritari: “Being a young author / is with its own perils fraught” #litchat|
|@jacobritari: “Reading Nietzsche gets you dates / But reading Proust does not” #hoedown #litchat|
|@jacobritari: “My only friend in high school / Was some guy named Ethan Frome” #hoedown #litchat|
|@jacobritari: “While I was writing books / Y’all were going to the prom” #hoedown #litchat|
|@jacobritari: The winner gets a free signed copy of my book. Also if you want, I’ll send you an audio file #litchat|
|@jacobritari: of me singing your entry in my rich baritone. Linda Hall on the piano, folks!|